“It turned out that the students at the university actually did think I was ‘special’ — the way that people label learning- disabled children that way. In the eyes of these wealthy, white eighteen-year-olds, I couldn’t possibly be educated, qualified, or smart enough to be a teaching assistant. I was this northerner, this girl only a few years older than them, this large black woman who evoked a mammy image and reminded them of their nannies and maids who worked back home in their large houses ensconced in well-manicured subdivisions.” – Serena Easton, Assistant Professor of Sociology Presumed Incompetent
I remember when I first graduated college and was attempting to get my first job, I realized how I was being viewed as a black woman in society. It was the first time I realized my skills were being questioned, my expertise doubted and my years of experience dismissed.
And I had multiple years of internships.
Whereas I have seen graduates that were not my hue or gender with similar qualifications get fast tracked on the road to success. That is why I was more than excited to talk to Yolanda Flores Neiman, Carmen Gonzales and Angela Harris, the author’s of Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia about the case studies they found when beginning conversations regarding race in higher education.
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